Archive for September, 2012

UPDATE: Chicago teachers win significant concessions, vote today

September 16, 2012 1 comment


UPDATE Sunday 8:21 pm: Teachers vote to continue strike

I didn’t see that coming.

After the basic “frameworks’’ of an agreement were reached Friday, CPS officials had hoped delegates would find it warranted calling off the strike of the nation’s third-largest school system in time for classes to resume Monday.

Instead, delegates and union leadership said Friday that they wanted to see the deal “in writing” first. That skepticism continued Sunday, when delegates got a 23-page summary but not the final proposal, which is expected to number of 180 pages.

Trust, but verify.

Chicago teachers win contract concessions, including rejection of differentiated merit pay, limiting test score based evaluations to 30% (in Delaware it’s 50%), right of appeal for ratings, increased job security, and restoring art, music, and physical education. A CTU committee is to vote on suspending the strike at 3:30 today. A vote on the contract by the full membership would occur later.

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Chicago librarian speaks

September 14, 2012 1 comment

Chicago public-school librarian Fran Feeley:

“I don’t accept the idea that charter schools and vouchers and testing kids eight weeks a year is going to solve the problems facing the public schools,” he said.

Red Clay parents: time to start checking your child’s grades

September 10, 2012 1 comment

Red Clay teachers are required to publish all test and assignment grades in Home Access Center within five days of the due date (ten days for bigger assignments). So as of today, all assignments due during the first week of school are required to be graded and viewable in HAC. (Note: HAC is used for Grades 4-12 in Red Clay; YMMV in other districts).

It’s great if your teachers have their own website or other means of communication, but HAC is where the rubber meets the road for parent engagement with schoolwork. HAC will show you due dates, grades, point weighting, all previous grades and assignments, and your child’s running grade average. It’s a great way to find out what your child is doing in class. Waiting for Interim Performance Reports or conferences is too little, too late.

To log into Delaware’s HAC system, click here. You can also check out the Parent Powered HAC Help (under construction), and contribute some questions to the HAC FAQ.

Parents should really log into HAC and check grades at least once per week (if not daily). If your child is having trouble with classwork, you can get involved and help them out before the high-point-value grades for unit tests or projects start rolling in. A properly updated HAC can empower parents to help turn a failing student into a passing student, or a B student into an A student.

You don’t want to find out the night before the test that your child has been struggling with those pre-test lessons. By the time most teachers tell you there is a problem, it is too late (unless they choose to keep up with HAC). All the metrics are looking at DCAS scores and marking period grades, not daily work. Interim progress reports are far too little and too late for effective intervention.

[…] Read more…

Chicago teachers ready to walk out on Monday; negotiating all weekend

September 8, 2012 Comments off


Chicago teacher unions vowing strike over same reforms Delaware is implementing

Via Daily Kos Education:

…while CTU President Karen Lewis said Friday morning that talks were improving, as of Friday afternoon a union spokeswoman said that “Talks are expected to continue through the weekend,” with union negotiators available “around the clock. If a contract is produced, a special session of our House of Delegates would be called in order to cancel a strike. As it stands there is no plan to do that.”

For Pete’s sake

September 8, 2012 Comments off


I’ve blogged before about the historic philanthropy of P.S. du Pont’s program to build modern schools for Delaware’s African American children. Now one of those remaining schools, Hockessin Colored School #107, is going back up for sheriff’s auction, and for the dumbest of reasons:

The school, owned by the Hockessin Community Center, was rescued earlier this year when a group of community leaders paid the community center’s $213,000 construction debt and pulled the property off the sheriff’s sale list. But that group, Friends of Hockessin Colored School #107, now has put the school back on the selling block because of an unresolved dispute between two factions of the center’s board of directors.

The property is listed for sale on Oct. 9, [Sheriff Trinidad] Navarro said.

Can’t some du Pont scions and their friends pull some money out of their sofa cushions, provide some organizational expertise, restore order to these squabblers, and preserve P.S. du Pont’s legacy? That’s what he would have done.

Play us out, Libba Cotten (sung by her granddaughter Brenda Evans):

Three Delaware schools win prestigious Blue Ribbon award

September 7, 2012 3 comments


Three Delaware elementary schools have won the US Department of Education’s prestigious Blue Ribbon Schools Award: Harry O. Eisenberg Elementary School (Colonial), Linden Hill Elementary School (Red Clay), and Star Hill Elementary School (Caesar Rodney).

This year only 219 schools across America have received this honor.

Congratulations, students, teachers, parents, and districts! This is a BIG DEAL!!

Principals and teachers, keep your eyes open for an invite to an awards ceremony in Washington, DC this November. Bring your dancing shoes!

Schools nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Schools must meet one of two eligibility criteria:

Exemplary High Performing Schools: Regardless of the school’s demographics or percentage of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, the school is high performing. These are schools that are ranked among a state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments in both reading (English language arts) and mathematics or that score at the highest performance level on tests referenced by national norms in at least the most recent year tested.


Exemplary Improving Schools: These are schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that have reduced the achievement gap by making the most progress in improving student performance in reading (English language arts) and mathematics on state assessments or tests referenced by national norms in at least the most recent year tested.

Chicago teacher unions vowing strike over same reforms Delaware is implementing

September 7, 2012 Comments off

This comes at an awkward moment for Democrats, who are asking for union support in this election and vowing to support education, and to support people over corporations:

[Mayor Rahm] Emanuel, a tough negotiator called a bully by the teachers union, wants to close underperforming schools, expand non-union charter schools, and let corporations and philanthropies run some schools.

He also wants principals to have the authority to hire who they want, and he backs the use of standardized test results and merit pay to evaluate and reward teachers.

The union wants to drastically reduce class sizes and increase funding for education. It is suspicious of efforts to erode traditional job protections such as tenure, teacher autonomy and seniority. The union believes charter schools – which are taxpayer-funded but not subject to all public school regulations – will undermine public education.

Man, those Chicago union guys have some big… shoulders. If they prevail, parents and students win far beyond Chicago.